Musical pairing – Starfish and Coffee by Matt Nathanson
Can we talk? Sometimes I dream about breakfast – eggs, bacon, hashbrowns . . . but most of the breakfasts I remember eating as a kid, consisted of cold cereal or peanut butter toast – occasionally we’d have waffles on a weekend but no buttered Pop Tarts for me! Bleh. So for more years than I care to count, I skipped breakfast all together and sometimes lunch too – bad, bad, bad girl as I now have the metabolism of a dead slug. Not to worry because in my next life, I’ve already put my order in for the body of a tall, leggy Blonde.
But now that I’m all grown up (ahem . . . and then some) I find that I rather enjoy putzing around the kitchen in the morning (especially weekends) whipping up lovely breakfast foods like Pancakes, Fritattas, Crumb Cakes or even French Toast with this oh-so-divine homemade Strawberry Jam. In fact, French Toast is one of those dishes that seems so basic, I debated whether or not it deserved its own post. However, I’ve convinced myself that there are probably as many variations on French Toast as there are people and since I didn’t discover Challah and Brioche bread until . . . well I won’t tell you just when I discovered Challah or Brioche . . . suffice it to say, that the bread was a revelation – and yes, man (or this woman) could live quite easily on French Toast with Strawberry Jam alone.
Now before you throw your hands up in the air and wail, ‘But I can’t make jam!’ I’m going to say, ‘Snap out of it Lucy – oh yes, you can!’ Because what if I told you the washing and hulling of the strawberries is the hardest part? Easy-peasy and waayyyyy better than anything you can purchase in the store. Which for moi, is much too rubbery, sugary and overcooked leaving no resemblance of strawberries whatsoever. I made this batch with strawberries purchased at my local Costco (no, they didn’t pay me to say that) and the jam is quite good; BUT I am salivating at the thought of making this recipe with strawberries from my very own garden – swoon!
NOTE: You can make the jam without the pectin (I did here) – it won’t set up quite as firm but then you have the excuse to swirl a spoonful in plain Greek yogurt or use as an ice cream topping . . . guilty on both counts . . .
So – how’s your metabolism these days?
FOR THE TOAST
3-4 slices Challah OR Brioche Bread, cut approx 1-inch thick
2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
2 Eggs, whisked
2-3 Tablespoons Milk (approx)
1 tsp of vanilla
pinch of salt
Skillet on medium heat, add 2 Tablespoons canola oil and 1 Tablespoon butter; using a combination of oil and butter allows you to get nice, crispy edges without the butter burning.
Whisk eggs, milk, vanilla and salt into shallow dish; dip one side of sliced bread into egg mixture, leaving it sit for about 1 minute or so, then flip to the other side and leave in the egg mixture another minute or so. Place in skillet and cook about 5 minutes and check for brownness – flip to the other side when it’s to your liking.
Serve with Strawberry Jam and a great cup of coffee and The Professor will love you forever – well, he’ll love me forever!
Adapted from Tom Colicchio, ‘wichcraft’ Page 39
4 Cups Strawberries, washed, hulled and cut into halves
2 Cups plus 1 teaspoon Sugar
Zest from 1 lemon
Juice from the Lemon above
1 teaspoon powdered pectin
In a bowl, combine strawberries, 2 Cups sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice and refrigerate overnight in a tightly covered container. The next day, in a saucepan, bring the strawberry and sugar mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the pectin and remaining teaspoon sugar and temper it by adding a small amount of the hot strawberry mixture and stirring quickly. Add the pectin mixture back into the original saucepan; return to the stove and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and place into a clean container with a lid. Once the jam has cooled, close the lid and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.